The shrinkage or swelling of coal as a result of gas desorption or adsorption is a well-accepted phenomenon. Its impact on permeability changes has also been recognized for two decades. Its importance has increased significantly because of the potential of coals that are not likely to be mined and depleted or nearly depleted coalbed methane reservoirs to serve as CO2 repositories. This article proposes a new theoretical technique to model the volumetric changes in the coal matrix during gas desorption or adsorption using the elastic properties, sorption parameters, and physical properties of coal. The proposed model is based on the theory of changes in surface energy as a result of sorption. The results show that the proposed model is in excellent agreement with the laboratory volumetric strain data presented in the literature during the last 50 yr. Furthermore, the proposed model can be extended to describe mixed-gas sorption behavior, which can be applied to enhanced coalbed methane and CO2 sequestration operations.

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